Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cameo - My Brain Is Just Playing Games With Me!

Do you remember that awful song in the 80's (if you weren't BORN in the 80's), called "Word Up" sung by Cameo (fun fact: originally the New York City Players)? Oh, yeah, that song has been stuck in my head for some weird reason. I never ever liked that song AND I don't think I've even heard it in the supermarket or from a passing car, or anything. So where did it come from? My big, old, bad brain. Yeah, the MRI is scheduled for Thursday, so we'll see if Cameo shows up in the imaging.

So naturally cameo soaps came to mind (aren't I so smart?), and I found some really pretty ones. I never think of cameo soaps, but I'm glad that song brought me to them.

Sunny Day Creations made this cute dolphin reef scene

Skinsations makes a number of cameo style soaps

These three soaps (above) are intricately designed and made by Soapy Chica in the UK

I like Daisy Cake Soap's interpretation of a cameo soap. Definitely. :)

These gorgeous cameo soaps are made by Debbie, of Soapy Love, but aren't actually on sale in her Etsy shop. This photo is representing a tutorial she is offering for sale on how to make these. These are stunning and needed to be included in this listing of cameos.

Dug Shop
Dugshop is a collective of artists. Love their stuff.

Fun Soap
Let's just say Barbie made a cameo appearance.

I'm curious, what song has been stuck in your head and what decade is it from?

Monday, June 29, 2009

It's Not Campbell's

I don't know why I had Andy Warhol on the brain or why the Campbell soup painting came to mind, but I thought it would be the perfect time to feature tomato SOAP today because of the weather. Last night Brad and I went driving out where there is nothing but orange groves. We were listening to music and the cicadas were singing SO LOUDLY, they almost drowned out the blasting music. More descriptions of the drive: large bugs slapped the windshield, the smell of moist dirt was in the air, the cool air was thick with humidity, and the sky seems larger than usual.....so it was the smell of the night air got me thinking of Warhol. Connection? Your guess is as good as mine.

So it's Summer and tomatoes are red and juicy and are perfect with a touch of salt. Always have loved big fat, red tomatoes. I can eat them like an apple if I wear a bib or sit in a chair hunched over on a lawn. I am a Brooklyn girl but I visited my grandparents in the North Carolina mountains for the month of August every year. My grandmother had a tomato garden. :O) I digress. Here -

Tomato Soap made with real tomato

creamy tomato basil soap by Southern VT Soap
what I love about this one is that the soap has organic tomato puree from their garden

tomato garden made by Amber's Ambry

lycopene complexion bar made by Wenbee

(ok, it doesn't have actual tomatoes in it, but it does have the natural phytochemical + antioxidant, lycopene which tomatoes have an abundance of)

salty tomato soap made by SubEarthan Cottage (etsy)

confetti soap made with real tomato juice by SubEarthan Cottage (artfire)

I think they are all beautiful!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mar Bar

I present a new recipe. I liiikey, folks. I may have to work with it time after time, but I jammed a whole lot of yummies in there and I feel darn good about that. No filler oils. Goodens. Sadly, I spaced and left out the scent. Not such a bad thing. It looks virgin like anyway in the natural light of my shop window.

I introduce the Mar Bar, except I haven't cut them into bars yet. Still, I am coining it. My Mar. See the chair they rest on while I photograph it? You could be sitting there and chatting with me in my shop. It can be THAT peaceful in here when I am not running around formulating.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Your Opinion, Business and Tact...

As most of you know, I own a bath and body company, Product Body. I feel that The Soap Bar is a place for people to come for tutorials, soap photos, innovative soap happenings, information and just soap stuff that must get. Soooo, it's hard to bring this up because I am not one to push myself on others. However, this is an offering more than a pushing.

I ask you: Would you want me to pass along a sale here on this blog that we put out in the Product Body newsletter? It occurred to us that we have a double sale going on for our customers and others aren't getting those benefits.

You can see that online version of the newsletter sale here.

The problem is that I don't want to "plug" my stuff and turn people off. I thought maybe I could do a monthly mention of a big sale. The economy sucks and we could use the business and if you like our products, you could use the discount. I see it as a win win situation, unless it would just piss you off and make you go away forever.

So I ask. Please leave a comment in the comment section about your feelings about this. Or email me at jo(at)productbody.com. I can take what you dish out.... Just don't be horribly mean to me. Thanks. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fruit For The Summer.... Ahhhhhh

I am a citrus girl, but all fruit makes me happy, and so does the Summer. I thought I'd take a moment to find some fruity finds made by some fabulous artisans so we can all get into the mood (except for those of you saying good-bye to the Summer, in which case....um... dare to dream!).

I found these on Etsy:

soaps by funktional - (I love the packaging on these soaps!)

Porn Star In Pink Panties. Best name ever... by Grumpy Girl

Tropical Papaya Mango soap by Spa Therapy

Loofah Soap - Pineapple Coconut (yummmmmmm) by Soap Scentsations

My mouth is actually watering. Time for breakfast.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sadly, It Looks Like Cheese

Ah, yes, my Peach Apricot soap sort came out looking like a loaf of American cheese. In fact this young, completely tattooed from head to toe teenager came in to check out the shop the other day and took one look at the soap in the case and said, "Hey, looks like cheese! I'm from Wisconsin, and I know cheese!" Big cute smile with a cute Wisconsin twang. She really was cute as a button.

Sharing a building with a fish and tackle shop and a tattoo shop has its ups and downs. The tattoo folks that come in here are definitely some of the sweetest people who walk in here. Especially that cheese girl.

Here's the peachy cheese.:)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Soap Rocks

I found a company online called t.s. pink and they are the manufacturer of GORGEOUS soap rocks. These are all molded soaps that all look like polished gems you'd find in a gift shop or fancy coffee table book of Gems Of The World. No kidding....see for yourself. They are all quite beautiful. Todd Pink created the soap rock concept in his shower after glancing down at his soap and having an epiphany about its form.

Here is a direct quote from their site about what they are made of and how they will effect you: "They are a hybrid dense glycerine soap that lifts very little oil off of the skin as they gently cleanse. Discover the ever-changing contours of SoapRocks® bath soaps and let their beauty become you." Wow. I think I'm speechless on that one.

I'd love to share some of my favorite rocks.

soapal, Fragrance: Geranium Moss

fire geode (no scent listed)

amethyst, Fragrance: Cucumber Ylang Garden

The rocks, soap it baby!

I like that...


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mint Chocolate by Lavande

Susanne Schlador of Lavande de bois in Boise Idaho

I've had a few of Susanne Schlador's soaps in my bathroom for a few months, and it wasn't until Monday that I whipped out the Mint Chocolate Chip soap bar when my husband was in the shower hollering, "Jo, for someone who makes soap and reviews soap, why isn't there any soap in the shower!? I am soapless over here!" I grabbed a bar I knew he wouldn't complain about and I instantly heard, "oooooooh....did you make this?" Nope, not me. "OOoooooh. Jo, you know when you get a soap and you rub it on your skin at first at there's an intitial drag? Well, this one doesn't have any! It's like slippery, right off the bat! Look!" And he opens the curtain and shows me how slippery it is on his hairy chest. Funny how men are like boys sometimes.

Later that morning, I take a shower and I am looking forward to experiencing the lack of drag and super slippy action. First, though, I am taken by the beauty of the bar. Sadly, I didn't photograph this one beforehand. What a supermodel! Sadly the photo on their website just doesn't express it's handsomeness. I may have to come back to you with the sliver just so you can get a close up.

The scent is mint chocolate, but not an ordinary peppermint like you'd expect. It's a soft and unassuming spearmint. The chocolate is mellow, too. It almost like I expected overkill with the name because I've tried overpowering mint chocolates before, but this one was mild and whispering in scent.

Its performance was excellent. Slippery, full of lather, moisturizing and it maintained its hardness. A real joy to use. Susanne, thank you for sending me your soap. It was definitely worth the wait.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Seize Soap Photo

Remember the seized Honey soap? I certainly shoved that hot waxy mess in the mold, but this is how it turned out... not perfect, but it came out soap and I am truly happy with the outcome. It looks almost like crumb cake. I'm kind of digging it, and the smell is just HEAVENLY. These two loaves are off to a client today!!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Today I am featuring Bathhouse Soap, a soap company and shop located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Char, owner of Bathhouse, recently opened her retail shop and it is beautiful. My pictures are not on this computer, sadly, but she did a slamin' job with the place. Char makes handcrafted soap, scrubs and cream. Her soaps are lovely and her website shows them off wonderfully. Please go visit her website and take a look, because she deserves it and it is so nice to look at... It's clean, simple and elegantly set up.

3 Layer Exfoliate

Fig + Milk (mmm)


3 Layer Detox

I met Char when her company was named White Lye Soap Co. I haven't tried her soap in over a year(?), but they all look dynamite and all seem to have specific purposes. She is a darling person, she has moxie, and I urge you to visit her at her shop if you live near Hot Springs, Arkansas or if you are online, go browse her shop.

120 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR

Char, I wish you the very best luck with your shop!!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Soap Spew

When I first got into reviewing handcrafted soaps for this blog, I went searching on the internet to find soap makers. I remember thinking that it was more desirable to me to find people who just made soap exclusively.


In a simplistic way, I felt that a soap maker who just made soap was a true soap maker...an artist. Master. Dedicated expert. I don't know why I had some preconceived notion that people who sold their handmade soap somehow degraded their product when they started to sell bath and body products. Like the products were an after thought.

Let's think about this. I have my own company, Product Body. We make and sell bath and body products. Of course, here I am having done it the opposite way. I started with bath and body and now I make soap, love making soap, am totally addicted to making soap, and now I sell my soap. Except it's not an after thought and so I eat my BIG FAT words and have stopped judging others. If you want to sell your products, sell whatever products you make.

Who am I to judge?

It's hard to balance product offerings, no doubt. If you offer only a few things, people want more items, if you offer too many things, people get confused and don't understand what to choose. If you offer one thing and are the best you can be and rock the world with that one thing? Well...I would have said 2 years ago that you should go with that because you stand out, but in this economy, if that one thing doesn't appeal to enough people, you are finished, unless you are independently wealthy, and in that case, I'd stick to it. (that was a really nice run-on sentence, dontcha think?)

I have no words of wisdom here, unfortunately, just soap spew...thoughts on "paper" so it gets out of my head and into yours.

You have to go with your gut and what works for the wallet. Sometimes, your business might begin to change directions in ways you didn't think it would go, and you must decide to either dig your heels in and keep it where it is or move with it. Tough decisions may be ahead.

Fortune for the day.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Cash Give-Away Alert

On my other blog I am having a cash give-away so go check it out if you are interested in free stuff!

Click HERE to transport you.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

I was chosen by Indie Style Blog to receive the Kreativ Blogger Award! I feel creative a LOT of the time, but most of it goes on in my head, and so when someone says I'm creative, I wonder what they see...because, I don't realize it's escaped my head. Also, I always feel mine PALES in comparison to so many unbelievable bursting-at-the-seams creative gurus out there. I know, comparing is the worst thing to do. We just need to do what we do for our own love.

Here are the rules of the award:
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3. List seven things you love.
4. List seven blogs you love.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

Seven Things that I Love:
1. My family
2. Soap making
3. Food
4. Sleeping
5. Music
6. Animals
7. The ocean

Seven Blogs that I Love (that I think will also do this challenge):
1. Lollychops
2. The Quiet Life of Violet
3. Morgan Street
4. Gracefruit
5. Future Primitive
6. Soap Queen (perhaps there is too much on your plate Anne-Marie, but you deserve the award and it would be fun for you to play)
7. Sudstress

I will now let my people know I grant them the Kreativ award. Hopefully they will all join in, take this as an honor, as I did, know they got it for being recognized for their creativity and pass along the award.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Successful Seize

I normally purchase fragrance oils from soap suppliers that indicate whether or not the fragrance will speed up trace or will work in general with cold process soap, but a wholesale customer of mine ordered two loaves of soap in a HONEY scent, not Oatmeal Milk + Honey, so, I took a chance with a couple of fragrances I had. Let me explain.

I had Herbal Accent's Milk + Honey, Peak Candle's Wild Mountain Honey (so nice, but I would only recommend it for bath and body products and candles...you'll understand in a second), and Majestic Mountain Sage's Honey Harvest. I knew mixing the three fragrances was a red flag the minute I started. Yeah, I was flying by the seat of my pants on this one. Call me a wild card! I needed to get the soap done, I had some great fragrance oils, and I had all of my ingredients. Soooo, I thought...let's get crackin'!

Well, I poured the lye/water mixture into the oil mixture and I mixed it to trace, lalalala..happy happy joy joy, then I began to slowly pour in my fragrance mixture. I held my breath, nervous. Nervous it might turn to clumpy porridge. It seemed to be working out fine. I stirred until it was fully incorporated and I moved it over to the lined molds and saw it starting to change, but not sure how. I hurried to the molds, started pouring and as I'm pouring MID POUR, the soap batter hardened. I am talking, stopped moving mid wave. Imagine an ocean wave halting completely - freeze frame! I have NEVER had this happen before. It turned into what felt like wax! I was about to throw the whole thing out until I just thought to myself, hell, just shove that wax down into the molds and call it a day.

That I did. I shoved that waxy batter down deep with all of my weight and crossed my fingers hoping it got down deep enough to hold the shape of the mold. I was wondering if the soap would cure, if it was even soap at all! If it was soap and it did cure, would it be all crumbly and weird?

Is this what they call soap seize?

Shoot. I think I'll try to stick with fragrances that have been tried and true because it's hard to spend all that money and time on quality oil and butters and to throwing it out makes me cringe.

Update** So two days later I take out the honey wax soap out and it seems fine... Looks a bit like crumb cake. Not perfect, not perfect. I'll have to share photos next time I have access to my camera. Nice soap, too. Lathers, not harsh....smells good, too.

:) I guess you'd call it a successful seize.

Has anything like this ever happened to you before? If so, what happened to the final soap? Love to hear your experience...

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Please do click on the top graphic to the right. Debbie Chialtas, of Soapylove has come out with an eZine for melt and pour soap crafting: LET'S GET SOAPY. The eZine has tutorials, design tips, techniques and tons more stuff. She's already published three issues!

If you've wanted to try your hand at melt and pour or you've wanted to perfect your skills with MP soaping, go get it!!

Thank you to Debbie for being part of The Soap Bar.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Colorado State Penitentiary Soap

I found an interesting and completely irrelevant website while perusing for wooden soap displays. I found it fascinating, though. I just love seeing and hearing about soap history. The stories...There is a man and his wife in their 80's who come into my shop about once a month. The man told us a story about his grandfather making lye soap with ashes and how that soap would take the hide off of a horse. He smiles and looks up at me and says, Oh, I like your soap much better. They purchase one bar of soap and one Creme Fresh and will be back next month.

Anyway, Roy Best was the warden of the Colorado State Prison from 1932 to 1954. On this website, I found a number of photos, but the two that I found that were relevant to soap were part of their Industry Row and showed the soap plant and the soap display at the Penitentiary.

Soap plant at the Colorado State Penitentiary in
Cañon City, Colorado

Black and white negative shows two levels of the soap plant; lower level has various machines, bins, metal barrels and wood flats; upper level has a row of metal barrels along railing with six men standing behind the barrels.

Man with soap products from soap plant

Black and white negative of a man standing next to a display of products made by the soap plant at the Colorado State Penitentiary in Cañon City, Colorado; sign on top of the display lists all of the products made at the soap plant.

Do you have family members that made soap from ashes??